Lars Andersen calls to protect journalists

Norwegian ambassador calls for effective protection of South Sudan journalists

by Joseph Oduha

February 4, 2019

“We are worried about developments in South Sudan. What we see happening there: that journalists are being persecuted, as is anybody else that criticizes the government. This does not bode well for the country’s civil society – or for its peace process,” states Lars Andersen, Norway’s ambassador to South Sudan.

Andersen continues: “South Sudan’s journalists and activities require effective protection from government-issued harassment, as this is the way to ensure freedom of the press and speech.”

Andersen’s remarks were made at a workshop held on February 4, 2019 in Juba. The workshop was organized by Inter-governmental Authority on Development (IGAD). Its objective: to develop the capabilities of women leaders in South Sudan.

As Andersen pointed out: “A free exchange of opinion and a voicing of criticisms are elements required for the development of a society. If you stifle criticism and dissent, you won’t make the best decisions for your country. And you certainly won’t get a handle on corruption and other crimes,” Andersen noted.

“Freedom of speech and media are key values of humankind and key indicators of a country’s political health. This also applies to each organization. Each of them has to promote and protect these freedoms in its internal dealings,” Anderson concluded.

Andersen’s remarks were occasioned by further reports of the South Sudanese government’s crackdown’s causing journalists to leave their professions, or to resort to strict self-censorship.